Monday, July 3, 2017

Guadalajara trip day 2 of 4. Patrick and I visited the hotel gym, which included a small balcony overlooking Plaza de Armas. Exercise: tai chi and free weights. Back to the hotel room for a shower. Breakfast buffet in the hotel restaurant Piso Siete is delightful, with stunningly arranged freshly cut fruit, cups of fruit salad, smoothies, many kinds of juices and juice blends, made-to-order eggs and waffles, many Mexican hot items (like chilaquiles, refried beans, and stewed chicken), gourmet donuts, and more. Afterwards we began our all-day Tequila Tour by Mickey Marentes with tour guide David and driver Raymundo. We started at 9:30 am. It was a very bumpy ride in an old 13-seat van (including the driver). The van's seats had seat belts, but they weren't arranged so that we could easily use them (because they were folded into the seat in a way that did not make them easily available). On the road we saw other people riding in the backs of trucks. We encountered lots of speed bumps, and that coupled with the poor road quality made for a somewhat unpleasant ride, but we lived through it. Our first stop was El Cascahuin near El Arenal where we toured the factory, saw agave hearts before they were to be placed in ovens, and tasted Cascahuin Blanco Reposade Añejo. This was also where our tour guide David mentioned Siembra Valles but we did not taste that on this tour. Our next stop was an establishment called Jarritos where we briefly visited the nearby lookout tower of El Arenal en el Paisaje Agavero then returned to Jarritos for refreshing tequila cocktails in souvenir mugs as well as a round of marengo shots. At around 2 PM we lunched at a roadside eatery that had bbq meat cooking on vertical skewers: chopped bbq pork, ground chorizo with cheese from jalisco, fresh tortillas, tortilla chips and salsas, boiled pinto beans. Our next stop was Hacienda de Oro, where we were greeted by Isabel who led us to a nearby agave field and one of their workers demonstrated how they harvest agave and let us try our hands at the harvesting technique. We returned to a patio for a tasting: hacienda de oro blanco, el ultimo agave reposado. (My notes also say "suave" here but now I can't recall why.) The next stop was Tequila Selecto de Amatitan, maker of Los Tres Tonas and crema tequilas. We watched a 10-minute video, saw live falcons and peacocks, including a white peacock. While attempting to complete a credit card transaction to pay for the tour and some purchases, Phil and Drew borrowed a bunch of pesos from me. Our next stop was the town of Tequila where we stopped at Mundo Cuervo and browsed in the Cuervo store but did not buy anything. Next we visited Iglesia de Santiago Apóstol and Capilla del Antiguo Hospital de Indios and walked a main shopping street. We drove back to Guadalajara, most or all of us napping from the day's exertion. We arrived around 8:30 pm. Patrick remained in the hotel to rest. The rest of us went out for dinner. The line was too long at La Chata, so we ate instead at La Gorda. I had pollo flautas. Afterwards the others left to buy groceries from Oxxo. I went to bed.